He carries no burden, he feels no pain. What man, like woman, lies down in the darkness and gets up with child? The gentle, smiling ones own the good secret. Oh, what strange wonderful clocks women are. They nest in Time. They make flesh that holds fast and binds eternity.
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He carries no burden, he feels no pain. What man, like woman, lies down in the darkness and gets up with child? The gentle, smiling ones own the good secret. Oh, what strange wonderful clocks women are. They nest in Time. They make flesh that holds fast and binds eternity.

-Ray Bradbury

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What?' He cried, darting at him a look of fury: 'Dare you still implore the Eternal's mercy? Would you feign penitence, and again act an Hypocrite's part? Villain, resign your hopes of pardon. Thus I secure my prey!'As He said this, darting his talons into the Monk's shaven crown, He sprang with him from the rock. The Caves and mountains rang with Ambrosio's shrieks. The Daemon continued to soar aloft, till reaching a dreadful height, He released the sufferer. Headlong fell the Monk through the airy waste; The sharp point of a rock received him; and He rolled from precipice to precipice, till bruised and mangled He rested on the river's banks. Life still existed in his miserable frame: He attempted in vain to raise himself; His broken and dislocated limbs refused to perform their office, nor was He able to quit the spot where He had first fallen. The Sun now rose above the horizon; Its scorching beams darted full upon the head of the expiring Sinner. Myriads of insects were called forth by the warmth; They drank the blood which trickled from Ambrosio's wounds; He had no power to drive them from him, and they fastened upon his sores, darted their stings into his body, covered him with their multitudes, and inflicted on him tortures the most exquisite and insupportable. The Eagles of the rock tore his flesh piecemeal, and dug out his eyeballs with their crooked beaks. A burning thirst tormented him; He heard the river's murmur as it rolled beside him, but strove in vain to drag himself towards the sound. Blind, maimed, helpless, and despairing, venting his rage in blasphemy and curses, execrating his existence, yet dreading the arrival of death destined to yield him up to greater torments, six miserable days did the Villain languish. On the Seventh a violent storm arose: The winds in fury rent up rocks and forests: The sky was now black with clouds, now sheeted with fire: The rain fell in torrents; It swelled the stream; The waves overflowed their banks; They reached the spot where Ambrosio lay, and when they abated carried with them into the river the Corse of the despairing Monk.

-Matthew Lewis

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Maria, lonely prostitute on a street of pain,You, at least, hail me and speak to meWhile a thousand others ignore my face.You offer me an hour of love,And your fees are not as costly as most.You are the madonna of the lonely,The first-born daughter in a world of pain.You do not turn fat men aside,Or trample on the stuttering, shy ones,You are the meadow where desperate menCan find a moment's comfort.Men have paid more to their wivesTo know a bit of peaceAnd could not walk away without the guiltThat masquerades as love.You do not bind them, lovely Maria, you comfort themAnd bid them return. Your body is more Christian than the Bishop'sWhose gloved hand cannot feel the dropping of my blood.Your passion is as genuine as most,Your caring as real!But you, Maria, sacred whore on the endless pavement of pain,You, whose virginity each man may make his ownWithout paying ought but your fee,You who know nothing of virgin births and immaculate conceptions,You who touch man's flesh and caress a stranger,Who warm his bed to bring his aching skin alive,You make more sense than stock markets and football gamesWhere sad men beg for virility.You offer yourself for a fee--and who offers himself for less?At times you are cruel and demanding--harsh and insensitive,At times you are shrewd and deceptive--grasping and hollow.The wonder is that at times you are gentle and concerned,Warm and loving.You deserve more respect than nuns who hide their sex for eternal love;Your fees are not so high, nor your prejudice so virtuous.You deserve more laurels than the self-pitying mother of many children,And your fee is not as costly as most.Man comes to you when his bed is filled with brass and emptiness,When liquor has dulled his sense enoughTo know his need of you.He will come in fantasy and despair, Maria,And leave without apologies.He will come in loneliness--and perhapsLeave in loneliness as well.But you give him more than soldiers who win medals and pensions,More than priests who offer absolutionAnd sweet-smelling ritual,More than friends who anticipate his deathOr challenge his life,And your fee is not as costly as most.You admit that your love is for a fee,Few women can be as honest.There are monuments to statesmen who gave nothing to anyoneExcept their hungry ego,Monuments to mothers who turned their childrenInto starving, anxious bodies,Monuments to Lady Liberty who makes poor men prisoners.I would erect a monument for you--who give more than most--And for a meager fee.Among the lonely, you are perhaps the loneliest of all,You come so close to loveBut it eludes youWhile proper women march to church and fantasizeIn the silence of their rooms,While lonely women take their husbands' armsTo hold them on life's surface,While chattering women fill their closets with clothes andTheir lips with lies,You offer love for a fee--which is not as costly as most--And remain a lonely prostitute on a street of pain.You are not immoral, little Maria, only tired and afraid,But you are not as hollow as the police who pursue you,The politicians who jail you, the pharisees who scorn you.You give what you promise--take your paltry fee--andWander on the endless, aching pavements of pain.You know more of universal love than the nations who thrive on war,More than the churches whose dogmas are private vendettas made sacred,More than the tall buildings and sprawling factoriesWhere men wear chains.You are a lonely prostitute who speaks to me as I pass,And I smile at you because I am a lonely man.

-James Kavanaugh

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The repugnance to what must ensue almost immediately, and the uncertainty, were dreadful, he said; but worst of all was the idea, 'What should I do if I were not to die now? What if I were to return to life again? What an eternity of days, and all mine! How I should grudge and count up every minute of it, so as to waste not a single instant!' He said that this thought weighed so upon him and became such a terrible burden upon his brain that he could not bear it, and wished they would shoot him quickly and have done with it."The prince paused and all waited, expecting him to go on again and finish the story."Is that all?" asked Aglaya."All? Yes," said the prince, emerging from a momentary reverie."And why did you tell us this?""Oh, I happened to recall it, that's all! It fitted into the conversation—""You probably wish to deduce, prince," said Alexandra, "that moments of time cannot be reckoned by money value, and that sometimes five minutes are worth priceless treasures. All this is very praiseworthy; but may I ask about this friend of yours, who told you the terrible experience of his life? He was reprieved, you say; in other words, they did restore to him that 'eternity of days.' What did he do with these riches of time? Did he keep careful account of his minutes?""Oh no, he didn't! I asked him myself. He said that he had not lived a bit as he had intended, and had wasted many, and many a minute.""Very well, then there's an experiment, and the thing is proved; one cannot live and count each moment; say what you like, but one cannot." "That is true," said the prince, "I have thought so myself. And yet, why shouldn't one do it?""You think, then, that you could live more wisely than other people?" said Aglaya."I have had that idea.""And you have it still?""Yes — I have it still," the prince replied.

-Fyodor Dostoyevsky

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Lew had never seen a dead man before. He just stood there, and looked and looked. Then he went a step closer, and looked some more. 'So that's what it's like!' he murmured inaudibly. Finally Lew reached out slowly and touched him on the face, and cringed as he met the clammy feel of it, pulled his hand back and whipped it down, as though to get something off it.The flesh was still warm and Lew knew suddenly he had no time alibi.He threw something over that face and that got rid of the awful feeling of being watched by something from the other world. After that Lew wasn't afraid to go near him; he just looked like a bundle of old clothes. The dead man was on his side, and Lew fiddled with the knife-hilt, trying to get it out. It was caught fast, so he let it alone after grabbing it with his fingers from a couple of different directions.Next he went through his pockets, thinking he'd be helping to identify him.The man was Luther Kemp, forty-two, and he lived on 79th Street. But none of that was really true any more, Lew thought, mystified; he'd left it all behind. His clothes and his home and his name and his body and the show he'd paid to see were here. But where the hell had he gone to, anyway? Again that weird feeling came over Lew momentarily, but he brushed it aside. It was just that one of the commonest things in life - death - was still strange to him. But after strangeness comes familiarity, after familiarity, contempt. ("Dusk To Dawn")

-Cornell Woolrich

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And it was in that moment of distress and confusion that the whip of terror laid its most nicely calculated lash about his heart. It dropped with deadly effect upon the sorest spot of all, completely unnerving him. He had been secretly dreading all the time that it would come - and come it did.Far overhead, muted by great height and distance, strangely thinned and wailing, he heard the crying voice of Defago, the guide.The sound dropped upon him out of that still, wintry sky with an effect of dismay and terror unsurpassed. The rifle fell to his feet. He stood motionless an instant, listening as it were with his whole body, then staggered back against the nearest tree for support, disorganized hopelessly in mind and spirit. To him, in that moment, it seemed the most shattering and dislocating experience he had ever known, so that his heart emptied itself of all feeling whatsoever as by a sudden draught.'Oh! oh! This fiery height! Oh, my feet of fire! My burning feet of fire...' ran in far, beseeching accents of indescribable appeal this voice of anguish down the sky. Once it called - then silence through all the listening wilderness of trees.And Simpson, scarcely knowing what he did, presently found himself running wildly to and fro, searching, calling, tripping over roots and boulders, and flinging himself in a frenzy of undirected pursuit after the Caller. Behind the screen of memory and emotion with which experience veils events, he plunged, distracted and half-deranged, picking up false lights like a ship at sea, terror in his eyes and heart and soul. For the Panic of the Wilderness had called to him in that far voice - the Power of untamed Distance - the Enticement of the Desolation that destroys. He knew in that moment all the pains of someone hopelessly and irretrievably lost, suffering the lust and travail of a soul in the final Loneliness. A vision of Defago, eternally hunted, driven and pursued across the skyey vastness of those ancient forests fled like a flame across the dark ruin of his thoughts...It seemed ages before he could find anything in the chaos of his disorganized sensations to which he could anchor himself steady for a moment, and think...The cry was not repeated; his own hoarse calling brought no response; the inscrutable forces of the Wild had summoned their victim beyond recall - and held him fast.("The Wendigo")

-Algernon Blackwood

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